Polar Bear Swim makes a splash at Vernon Winter Carnival

The annual icy plunge was attended by hundreds at Paddlewheel Park on Saturday, Feb. 15

There are plenty of Vernon Winter Carnival events to take in this Saturday – some chillier than others.

The annual Polar Bear Swim kicked off at Paddlewheel Park, complete with hot chocolate and a bonfire to stay warm before chilling out in the water.

Hundreds gathered to spectate as a large group of swimmers huddled beach-side at Okanagan Lake, getting ready to make the icy plunge just before 1 p.m.

Last out of the water was a Vernon resident named Jens, who didn’t seem at all phased by the temperature.

“I’ve done this inside the arctic circle,” he laughed.

Another swimmer, Chris Fehr, was taking part for the second time. When asked why he came back for more chills this year, he said it was all in the “spirit of the Winter Carnival.”

Swimmers paid $10 to participate, and all proceeds will go towards charitable causes.

READ MORE: Ballerina shines in icy photo shoot in Vernon

GALLERY: Vernon Winter Carnival Parade gets in the groove

A somewhat less chilly experience took place at the Vernon Curling and Athletic Club.

The Winter Carnival’s inaugural JCI Rock Stars Bonspiel saw 14 teams battle it out for prizes and bragging rights.

Presented by A&W, the bonspiel saw teams compete in three games of six ends.

Organizer Nicola Dent says she’s pleased with the turnout, especially for a brand-new event in a busy Winter Carnival.

“Up until about a week ago we only had six to eight teams, so this is good. We’re really happy,” she said.

It’s a tournament that aims to provide fun for all, as it’s open to all skill levels.

“You don’t have to be a great curler, you can be a first-timer – and we have a bunch of first-timers out there,” said Dent.

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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The Vernon Winter Carnival’s inaugural JCI Rock Stars Bonspiel saw 14 curling teams compete at the Vernon Curling Club Saturday, Feb. 15. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Steve English, left, and Dustin Coombs hurry hard as members of the Kal Ice Hawks. The inaugural JCI Rock Stars Bonspiel took place at the Vernon Curling Club Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

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